Mike Ashley vs Amanda Staveley in Excessive Courtroom showdown: New twist in Newcastle United takeover as ex-owner sues lady who sealed the deal

Tracksuit tycoon Mike Ashley has launched authorized motion in opposition to Amanda Staveley, the highly effective financier who led the Saudi-backed takeover of his former soccer membership Newcastle United. 

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Ashley’s St James Holdings issued a Excessive Courtroom declare in opposition to Staveley in latest days – simply three months after finishing the £305million sale. Staveley has been focused by Ashley’s attorneys alongside her husband, British-Iranian businessman Mehrdad Ghodoussi. It’s understood that neither has but been personally served with proceedings, however they’re conscious of the case. 

Particulars of Ashley’s criticism and the dimensions of his declare remained a thriller final evening. 

Own goal?: The legal teams of Amanda Staveley and Mike Ashley will soon be tackling each other at the High Court

Personal purpose?: The authorized groups of Amanda Staveley and Mike Ashley will quickly be tackling one another on the Excessive Courtroom 

Representatives for Ashley, who owns Sports activities Direct and Home of Fraser, declined to touch upon the case. Staveley’s representatives additionally declined to remark. 

The emergence of potential Excessive Courtroom litigation represents a notable change in tone between the 2. There had been no signal of dangerous blood within the aftermath of the acquisition, which was accomplished in October. 

Staveley and Ghodoussi singled out Ashley for reward of their New 12 months’s message printed on Newcastle’s web site. 

They thanked him and his crew for the ‘dedication’ proven in getting the deal over the road, stressing that it could not have been doable with out him. 

The obvious falling out is the newest twist within the ongoing saga of the sale of Newcastle United, which was owned by Ashley for 14 years. The membership was bought by an funding group comprising the Saudi Public Funding Fund, RB Sports activities & Media and PCP Capital Companions. 

Staveley, chief govt of PCP, is now on the membership’s board. PIF, which has an estimated worth of £700billion, has taken an 80 per cent share within the membership, whereas the remaining 20 per cent was divided equally between Staveley’s PCP and Reuben Brothers, which owns RB Sports activities & Media. 

The sale, 4 years within the making, had at occasions grow to be fraught by authorized tussles that threatened to derail the deal. 

The Premier League initially determined to dam the sale in 2020 amid issues over whether or not the brand new homeowners would move the ‘possession and administrators take a look at’ and wranglings over world streaming rights. 

This led to Ashley launching varied actions in an try and push the deal via. He met resistance from the Premier League and clashed with its chief govt Richard Masters. 

His authorized battles included a failed try and take away the chairman of an arbitration panel which had been set as much as determine whether or not to again the Premier League’s opposition or approve the takeover. 

Ashley needed the chairman to be ousted on the grounds that he was supposedly not unbiased.

He even took the footballing physique earlier than a Competitors Enchantment Tribunal when it threatened to railroad him into lacking out on promoting his shares within the membership.  

On account of his clashes with the Premier League, the takeover got here near collapse final summer season. However in October the Premier League lastly gave it the inexperienced mild after it obtained ‘legally binding assurances’ over the Saudi State’s involvement. Ashley had purchased the membership for £133million in 2007 and the latest sale gifted him a major windfall. 

His lengthy reign on the membership had at occasions been controversial. In April 2017, HM Income & Customs raided the membership with a search warrant regarding the alleged underpayment of tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage. Nevertheless, in Might final yr that felony investigation was closed. 

Followers had commonly railed in opposition to the tycoon over his administration of the membership. Indicators of Ashley’s waning affect at Newcastle have grow to be rapidly obvious, with Sports activities Direct hoardings being ripped down from Newcastle’s St James Park stadium final month. 

Staveley had beforehand stated she was excited by the prospect of their elimination: ‘It is a slight frustration after I go into the stadium and I attempt to take an image which does not have Sports activities Direct,’ she stated. 

Particulars of a monetary tie-up between Ashley and Staveley emerged in 2020 when it was disclosed that St James Holdings had agreed to make a mortgage out there to PCP Capital. Nevertheless, the MoS understands that Staveley didn’t borrow any funds when buying her 10 per cent stake within the membership. 

Ashley’s most up-to-date accounts point out that every one funds regarding the £305million deal have been made. Additional paperwork are anticipated to be submitted by Ashley’s authorized crew. Ashley is retaining Dentons for the case – the identical legislation agency that suggested St James Holdings on the takeover. Staveley has known as upon magic circle outfit Freshfields.